Kyrgyzstan is about to have elections in a couple of weeks time. The Central Election Commission checked 1,912 registered parliamentary candidates for criminal records.
No fewer than 221 candidates had been convicted, for crimes ranging from kidnapping and extortion to attempted seizure of power, while another 19 have cases pending.
Not that criminal elements are new in government circles.
For example, candidate and former minister of social development Ravshanbek Sabirov, was sentenced in 2013 to five years in prison for extorting a bribe. In 2014, he was released ahead of schedule under an amnesty.
A candidate for deputy from the Mekenim Kyrgyzstan party, Akhmatbek Keldibekov, was convicted in 2015 under the articles “Corruption” and “Abuse of official powers”. In 2016, the court sentenced him to a fine of 10 million soms ($130,000).
Omurbek Bakirov, a candidate for deputy from the Birimdik party, was accused in 2010 of attempting to forcefully overthrow the Provisional Government. In addition, in 2004 a criminal case was initiated against Bakirov and criminal authority Almanbet Anapiyaev under the articles “Kidnapping”, “Robbery”, “Illegal deprivation of freedom” and “Extortion”.
And the list goes on…
Of course, not all successful candidates live to enjoy their positions of power. In 2006, crime boss Ryspek Akmatbaev won the parliamentary elections, but was killed a month later.
Another murdered member of parliament, Bayaman Erkinbaev, was also associated with the criminal world – believed to be the reason for his 2005 murder.
It will be interesting to see how many people elected to parliament will have also spent time in quite another government institution.
Are you hoping none of the more “interesting” candidates have friends who read your blog?